Psoriasis treatment target is safe, new study shows

A protein known to play a significant role in the development of psoriasis can be blocked with no risk to patient health, according to new research by King’s College London.

The study, which has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, confirmed that a group of inflammatory proteins called IL-36 play a significant role in the development of psoriasis and can be blocked without posing a risk to patients.

Psoriasis, which causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales, affects more than 1.8 million people in the UK. The findings of this study open up the possibility for the development of new drugs to tackle the condition.

Dr. Francesca Capon, the study’s lead author, said: ‘There was already some evidence to suggest that IL-36 played a significant role in psoriasis. Having confirmed this was the case, the question for us was whether we could block this molecule without posing a risk to patients.’

‘We know that genetic mutations are more common in communities where parental relatedness is widespread and we found 12 women who carried a defect that naturally blocked IL-36.’

‘We determined that the lack of IL-36 activation had not had an adverse effect on their health which suggests it would be safe to block this molecule in patients with psoriasis.’

Medical technology which would enable the blocking of IL-36 group of inflammatory proteins in patients with psoriasis is already widely available.

Helen McAteer, Chief Executive of the Psoriasis Association, which part-funded the study, said: ‘Research into psoriasis is enabling us to not only understand the condition better, but the treatments better.’

‘Current research is having a positive impact on clinical effectiveness, better understanding is providing better treatment outcomes, ultimately improving the lives of those affected by psoriasis.’


  • Kristi Jencks

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